• E-Learning Frequently Asked Questions

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    General

    What is E-Learning?
    In E-Learning, students will receive teacher-led instruction, also known as synchronous learning, and will also learn independently through asynchronous learning.

    How will E-Learning be improved from the online learning that occurred in spring 2020?
    As part of the All-In to Reopen Our Schools subcommittees work, a team of educators and parents made recommendations to improve learning online. Teacher-led instruction will be a part of the improved model.

    What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning?
    Synchronous learning is when the instruction is led by a teacher virtually. Asynchronous learning is when a student is learning and completing work independently without teacher-led instruction.

    Will the curriculum be the same in E-Learning and what students will use when they return to in-school classes?
    Yes. Students will have access to the same curriculum in school and during E-Learning online. 

    What kind of professional training will occur so teachers are better prepared to provide online instruction?
    A host of professional learning opportunities will be provided to teachers and paraprofessionals that include, but is not limited to training on the identified Learning Management System (LMS), how to teach in a virtual environment, and procedural operations to maintain the safety of our students, teachers, and staff.

    Will my child still be able to participate in all school activities and sports if I choose the E-Learning option?
    Regardless of the selected option, students will be able to participate in all school activities, sports, and events held at their school within health and safety guidelines.

    Will students be able to take Advanced Placement courses online?
    Yes. Advanced Placement courses will be available to students online.

     

     

    Computer Device Distribution

    Will the District provide my child with a laptop?
    All PPS students will be provided with a personal device (laptop or iPad) for the 2020–21 school year. If you currently do not have a device and have not already talked to your child's teacher, please contact your child’s school immediately. Click here for the School Directory.

    What do I need to exchange the laptop/iPad I have now?
    Guardians need to bring an ID, their child’s student ID# (if they do not have it, a volunteer will look it up) and they need to sign an acceptable use form. Devices will only be distributed to the primary guardian of the child. When picking up or exchanging an old device for an updated device, please wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

    Who is responsible for damages or broken equipment?
    Per the District’s Acceptable Use form, families are responsible for broken or damaged devices.

    If I received a laptop/iPad already, can I just use the one I have?
    No. If a family was given a device (iPad or Laptop) in the Spring or Summer, they need to exchange it. The device they have will not work for the 2020-2021 school year. It needs to be updated and laptop cameras settings need to be turned on. Current devices will be shut off and will not work until they receive the necessary update.

     

     

    Instruction  

    Will all classes be recorded or will a teacher be teaching live?
    Teachers may choose to record portions of lessons to share with students virtually.

    How is live teaching going to be offered to students in E-Learning?
    Teachers will provide direct instruction through the use of technology to students enrolled in E-Learning.

    What are the specific hours E-Learning? 
    Students will follow their respective school’s schedule and their schedule of classes during normal school hours for the synchronous learning. 

    Will students participating in E-Learning receive letter grades?
    Yes, all students will receive grades.

    Will students receive music and art education?
    Yes, every effort will be made to include all elective courses.  Circumstances may vary by grade configuration.

    What support will be in place for vulnerable households? For instance, a single parent with literacy issues and unable to assist their younger aged child with navigating online instructions?
    The online classes will be teacher directed and school staff will be available for support while the students are online.

    How is online instruction going to work especially for the single parents who are still working full time hours?
    The online classes will be teacher directed and school staff will be available for support while the students are online.  This will be different from the model used in the spring.

    How will schools with major’s work?
    Students enrolled in majors will receive instruction from a teacher at their school. 

    If students are in day care because parents have to work, who is going to help kids do work at specific times?
    The online classes will be teacher directed and school staff will be available for support while the students are online.

    What will grading look like for the 2020-2021 school year?
    Grading will resume as usual and reflect the guidelines provided by the Office of Curriculum and Instruction.

     

     

    Food  

    How will breakfast and lunch be served to students during the First 9-weeks of School?
    For the first nine-weeks of school, the District will provide Grab and Go breakfast and lunch at 27 District locations between the hours of 7:00am – 9:00am and 10:00am – 1:00pm Monday thru Friday (except holidays). Please visit www.pghschools.org/grabandgo for the full list of school locations and menus.

    In addition, the Child and Adult Café Snack and Dinner program is available at four (4) Citiparks locations: Allegheny Dwellings, East Hills BJWL, Glen Hazel/BJWL Hazelwood and Northview Heights/Public Safety Center. 

     

    Athletics

    How will students participate in sports? 
    On July 15, 2020, the Board of Education approved the Athletics Resocialization Health and Safety Plan. The plan outlines how we will provide a safe space of fun, learning and camaraderie for our students.  It covers procedures for conditioning, daily safety checks for athletes, coaches and staff, and the use of masks. The plan was developed with input from coaches, principals, parents, athletic trainers and other medical personnel to ensure a health and safety plan that follows the prescribed guidelines as set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. To view the plan visit www.pghschools.org/Page/5482.

     

     

    Childcare 

    Will local providers offer free childcare?
    We are currently working with community-based organizations to establish community-based remote learning centers where students can complete their remote learning activities in a safe, supervised environment. You can view additional information about hubs operated by PPS partners at www.pghschools.org/remotelearninghubs, and more about hubs across the county at https://tryingtogether.org/community-learning-hubs/.

     

    Technology 

    Will cameras be enabled camera before instruction begins?  
    Cameras for the 2020-21 school year will be enabled. 

    How will we support families that need Wi-Fi? 
    In collaboration with community partners, the District has secured a limited number of internet connections that can be shared with families.  District personnel have been reaching out to families who have indicated that they do not have internet to enroll them in the internet essentials program.  If you need Wi-Fi, please contact your child's school or submit a Let's Talk ticket.

    What type of devices will each student receive?  
    Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1 – iPads  

    Grades 2-5 touchscreen windows laptops

    Grades 6-12 windows laptop (students attending CAPA will receive a MacBook)

    Who will help with technology challenges?  
    The support desk, school tech coordinators, and the PITT community support desk. Additionally, there are many support documents already available on the district website for common issues, and there are many open source resources that people can reference for support.  

    Is the District collecting the non-working iPads that were already given to the kindergarten class?  
    Yes, if a family has an iPad that is not working, they should contact their school or the Support Center at 412-529-HELP or via Let's Talk.  As families identify that their iPads are not working the Support Center will work with the school principal to replace the iPad.

    Will the iPads already have the programs needed installed onto them for the students? Especially for Pre-k?  
    Yes. iPads will have programs already installed on them. Additional program requests for an iPad should be coordinated with the child’s school.   

     

    Supports for Students with Disabilities

    My child has special needs requiring more support.  What will be offered in terms of additional support regardless of which school option is chosen?
    District staff will provide student academic, individual, or group intervention support and related services and supports as outlined in a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Gifted Individual Education Plan (GIEP) within CDC guidelines.

    How will students with IEPs get the right type of learning to support them at home?
    For parents who decide to have their child participate fully in eLearning, an IEP will be developed to address the unique learning strategies that would be appropriate for that environment.  Synchronous, live instruction would be a part of the delivery of services. 

    How will the District support students with social/emotional needs?
    Students with disabilities who have emotional support needs will continue to receive those services whether they are in the brick and mortar or remote learning environments.

    How will students receive behavioral health services?
    Students who receive school based mental health services will continue to receive those services when school reopens.  A plan shall be developed to coordinate the support for these services regardless of whether the student is the brick and mortar or remote learning environment.

    What is the plan for students that attend the City Connections program?
    The CITY Connections program relies heavily upon community interaction and employment experiences.  Planning for how the program will be altered is occurring over the next couple of weeks and a fuller plan will be released at that time. 

     

    Supports for English Language Learners (EL)

    My child is an English Language Learner.  How will their needs be met?
    In a blended, fully remote, or brick and mortar educational model, English Learners will continue to receive support from a certified ESL teacher. Depending on the student's English proficiency level, this may occur in a co-teaching setting with another teacher or the student may receive instruction directly from the ESL teacher.

    Will we continue using Talking Points to communicate with EL families?
    Yes, the District will continue to use Talking Points to communicate easily via text with all families.